News for and about CAHS Employees
June 2017

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In this issue ...
Cool Fun: Ice Cream Socials in June
Behavioral Health Collaborative Meets June 23
School Based Summer Camps Start June 5
New Grants Will Help Children & Families
Humana Grant Continues Total Health Offerings
CAHS Helps Women Prepare for Life After Prison
People of All Ages Celebrate Mental Health Month 
CARP Team Wins Volleyball Tournament
Remembering Dr. Pennington and Mr. Hendricks
College Graduations Add PhDs in School Based
Coming Up At CAHS
Get Ready for Ice Cream!

Throughout the month of June, the Employee Relations Committee (ERC) will host ice cream socials at each clinic -- all free and fun for CAHS employees. The Government Street location will hold its social on June 14. Dates and times at other locations are being finalized now, so watch for those announcements.
Behavioral Health Collaborative
Friday, June 23, 8:30 a.m.
A Discussion to Engage the Community Through the Facing Addiction Grant

The organization Facing Addiction recently awarded CAHS with a technical assistance grant for Baton Rouge -- one of 15 communities nationwide -- to participate in a pilot project to help fight the issues of addiction by engaging the public through grassroots campaigns. Attendees will learn about the various aspects of the grant and its focus on developing campaign strategies, securing local funding, training citizens to become advocates, and raising awareness about the problems and solutions. Other topics at this meeting may include a discussion of crisis services.


Youth Mental Health Day at the Capitol
Wednesday, June 7, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Louisiana State Capitol

CAHS will participate as an exhibitor in this event, organized by MyLife. CAHS employees will provide information to families about our school based and outpatient clinic children's services.

Informational flyer here
School Based Summer Camps Start June 5

Above: Last year's camps attracted 350 children who enjoyed adventure-based counseling, arts, crafts, and lots of recreation, both indoors and outdoors.  
The CAHS School Based Summer Enrichment Camps begin the week of June 5, bringing fun, learning, and team building to children at 23 schools in CAHS' seven parishes.

Special thanks to Holley Galland Haymaker, MD, 
pictured right) and the Haymaker Family Fund for their generous financial donation that will sponsor bottled water and a variety of snacks for the camps. 

Click here to see the schedule of the camps, being held in Ascension, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Pointe Coupee, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana parishes.

Look for exciting camp pictures in the July and August newsletters!
What's Happening At CAHS
Get Your CAHS Uniform Patches Now 

Order your CAHS patches today and create a uniform look with your favorite shirts and jackets. Order your patches here or through the CAHS Intranet under the "Forms" tab.

CAHS is now providing iron-on CAHS-logo patches, instead of embroidered polo shirts, to new employees. New employees will be provided one complimentary CAHS patch, and all employees -- both new and current -- may purchase patches for $2 each.

With the patches, all employees will be able to create CAHS uniform shirts and jackets from apparel they own or purchase. Employees will still have the option to purchase embroidered shirts at their own expense, through H&H Embroidery on Wooddale Blvd.
Training and Certification Offered Through New Grant

CAHS Children’s Behavioral Health Services’ Program Director Melissa Martin, MSW, LCSW-BACS, and Clinical Psychologist Bryan Gros, PhD, (pictured right) have been selected to receive training for certification in specialized services for youth with co-occurring develpmental disabilities and severe emotional disorders.

Their work is part of CAHS' role of offering child/youth behavioral health specialty services that help families who are either recipients of services for developmental disabilities or who are waiting for those services.

The trainings are part of a federal grant the state received recently from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

According to a recent national report, 58% of children with developmental disabilities, including Autism Spectrum Disorder, need some level of behavioral health supports.
SERV Grant Funds CAHS Work In Schools

The Louisiana Department of Education, through a new federal grant, has contracted with the CAHS School Based Therapy Program to offer its services in three Baton Rouge charter schools: APEX Collegiate Academy, BR College Preparatory, and Laurel Oaks Charter School.

Joi Bates, LMSW, and Dedric Smith, LMSW,
pictured left) are the two School Based therapists working in those schools.

After the civil unrest and flooding in the Baton Rouge area in 2016, the Louisiana Department of Education partnered with CAHS to apply to the U.S. Department of Education for a School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV) grant.

SERV grants are designed to help educational agencies recover from violent or traumatic events in which the learning environments have been disrupted.

APEX Collegiate Academy's Director of Operations Rebecca Armstrong
pictured right with APEX Executive Director Eric Lewis and Joi Bates), praised CAHS for its work, which began in March.

"Having Capital Area Human Services in our school has been extremely helpful for students, both inside and outside our classrooms," said Ms. Armstrong. "I have seen a positive shift in the behaviors of the students who are being served by our school’s counselor."

Laurel Oaks Head of School Shamsid-Deen, Jr. said the school based program has provided critical services for his school. "Our social worker has conducted numerous interventions and has given advice and support to help our students to become scholars. He is a valuable team member and a phenomenal resource." 
$118,000 Humana Grant Awarded for Total Health
CAHS is excited to be awarded a Humana Foundation grant of $118,000 for the second year in a row.

The grant allows CAHS to continue offering Total Health Program (THP) services that help integrate primary and behavioral healthcare services with oversight from registered nurses.

Various services for clients include peer-led and instructor-led health and wellness sessions at four CAHS locations:

* Center for Adult Behavioral Health
* Addiction Recovery Services
* Margaret Dumas Mental Health Center
* Capital Area Recovery Program
Peer Support Specialist Keisha Lacour, Fitness Instructor Ricky Pampo (both pictured above), and Peer Support Specialist Michelle Graffeo, say they are thrilled to continue presenting THP onsite fitness and wellness programs.
CAHS Helps Women Prepare for Life Outside Prison

Sheidra Boutte’, LCSW, represented CAHS at the 18th Annual Job Community Resource Fair, held May 11 at the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women (LCIW). 

Community agencies were invited to LCIW to provide information about their services to inmates who are scheduled for release within the next 12 months. 

Above: Sheidra Boutte' visits with women at LCIW.
Photo by Patrick Dennis, Baton Rouge Advocate, May 22, 2017
Sheidra visited with the women about behavioral health services and addiction recovery as part of CAHS’ Justice-Involved Intensive Outpatient Program (JI-IOP).  The program is designed to meet the behavioral health treatment needs of individuals who are involved or have been involved in the judicial system and who are identified as having a mental health disorder, a substance abuse disorder, or both (co-occuring).

The goal of JI-IOP is to provide participants with the necessary tools to maintain emotional stability and sobriety during the recovery process with the expectation that they discontinue their involvement in the criminal justice system by refraining from committing criminal offenses.

Read more here in the Baton Rouge Advocate article
CAHS Promotes Children's Mental Health Awareness
"Finding Help, Finding Hope" was the theme for Children's Mental Health Awareness Week, celebrated May 1-5.

Children's Behavioral Health Services partnered with the Louisiana Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health (LFFCMH) as a "Community Hero." LFFCMH supplied green ribbons for staff, children and families to wear during the week.

To help engage families, visitors, and staff, Anisha Nelson, LMSW, and Christiana Freeman, Social Service Counselor,
pictured above) distributed wristbands, activity books, and monthly family activity calendars.
Mental Health Month Message: Avoid "Risky Business"

CAHS commemorated Mental Health Month in May by educating employees and clients about the risky habits and behaviors that increase the risk of developing or exacerbating mental illnesses.

To kick-off the event on May 17th, educational materials and wellness tips were provided in the lobbies of CAHS clinics. Stress balls and pens for participants were contributed by Lynetta Butler on behalf of CAHS’ Total Health Program. In honor of National Prevention Week, staff were outside in the courtyard at the Government Street campus, treating clients, visitors, and staff to free lemonade and music.  

Fitness Trainer Ricky Pampo energized everyone with exercises to relax and relieve tension. Anthony Germade, Program Director for the National Alliance on Mental Illness - Louisiana, provided a table in the lobby and engaged event participants to learn more about mental health.  

Special thanks to CAHS Prevention Staff, Vivian Gettys, Charlene Gillard, Bridget Lewis, Ivan Toldson, and Peer Support Specialists, Keisha Lacour and Michelle Graffeo, for organizing the event and assisting with activities.  Program Contract Monitor Nona Griffin excited the crowd with her excellent exercise skills and positive energy.

"Risky Business" was the month's theme to highlight behaviors that can disrupt a person's mental health and potentially lead them on a path to crisis. Those behaviors include drug use, obsessive internet use, and excessive spending.

Click on the image above to watch the uplifting video
produced by CAHS Peer Specialist Ivan Toldson

CARP Volleyball Team Wins Area Tournament

Above (l-r):
 Coach Charles Sam,  Eric Chamberlin, Clint Tyler, Joshua Law, Lewis Carpenter, Christopher Naquin, and Justin Clark of the winning CARP volleyball team. 

After winning the first three matches of a one-day volleyball tournament, held May 29 at Club 12 in Baton Rouge for area recovery programs, the members of the volleyball team from the Capital Area Recovery Program (CARP) found themselves in the finals -- but things weren't looking good.

The CARP team had lost the first game of the finals, 21-7, against O'Brien House, and in the single-elimination format, CARP had to win a second game against O'Brien House.

In that second, deciding game, CARP was down 19-11. The O'Brien team only needed two more points to win. But, CARP rallied 10 points to tie the game at 21 and finished strong by winning the final two points for a 23-21 victory. Of course, there was plenty of cheering on the sidelines from other CARP clients and staff. 

The CARP clients extend special thanks to Ronnie Taravella, MD, for sponsoring all of the teams, food, and refreshments at the tournament.
Who's Who at CAHS

Please join us in welcoming these new employees:

Theresa Bennett, Social Worker, ARS
Kyllie Jenkins, Social Services Counselor, CABH

Doctors of Social Work

Brandi Conrad
Jahanna Bailey

Pictured (l-r): The School Based Therapy Program is proud to announce that two of its supervisors, Brandi Conrad and Jahanna Bailey, were awarded Doctorate of Social Work degrees, on May 20, at Tulane University.

Congratulations, Brandi and Jahanna!
Congratulations!  Angela Udofa

Pictured above (l-r): Fred Udofa, Angela Udofa, Dr. Aniedi Udofa, and Andrew Udofa

    Congratulations to Angela Udofa who graduated May 20 from Southern Methodist University in Dallas with a bachelor's degree in Business Administration - Accounting.

Angela is the daughter of CAHS Medical Director Aniedi Udofa, MD and her husband, Fred. Angela's brother, Andrew, also attends SMU as a third-year doctoral student. The extended Udofa family was represented at the graduation in full force by 15 relatives, including Dr. Udofa's sister from Nigeria.

This month, Angela begins her studies for a master's degree in accounting from SMU.
Heartfelt Memories At CAHS
Alphonse "Big Al" Hendricks, Jr.
Husband of Doris Hendricks

We mourn the passing on May 14 of Alphonse "Big Al" Hendricks Jr., the husband of Doris Andrews Hendricks of CAHS' Human Resources Department.

Doris and Big Al were married for 19 years.
Jay Carol Pennington, MD
CAHS' First Medical Director

We will dearly miss CAHS' first Medical Director, Jay Carol Pennington, MD, who passed away on May 20. He most recently served CAHS until mid-May as a physician at the Gonzales Mental Health Center. 

"Dr. Pennington was a mentor and dear friend," said CAHS Executive Director Jan Kasofsky, PhD. "He held patient care above all else. He loved his patients and reveled in the knowledge that he could help them and see their progress and value." 

Click on these links to read remembrances from
CAHS colleagues and friends
Beth Feher, Dr. Pennington's niece

Dr. Pennington began state service in 1987 as the Medical Director at East Louisiana State Hospital. In 1997, he was named Medical Director of CAHS where he worked until he retired.

After retirement, Dr. Pennington returned to CAHS as a contract physician. He was a veteran, having served in the United States Air Force, and he practiced medicine in Mississippi before moving to Louisiana.
Dr. Pennington loved New Orleans' culture and history. He owned a historic home in the Garden District and delighted in giving grand tours to visitors who enjoyed his beautiful home, flower gardens, and wonderful stories about the house, built in the 1800s.
Special thanks to Paula Dunn, RN, of GMHC, who helped Dr. Pennington during his illness and who earned the nickname, "My Nurse," from him.  She and Dr. Kasofsky were with Dr. Pennington the day he passed away. Memorial services have not been scheduled at this time.
We Want to Hear From You!
CAHS Connections is your newsletter, about and for the employees and activities of Capital Area Human Services. We welcome your ideas and photos. Items of interest include program news, events, achievements, presentations, births, 25+-year anniversaries, contests, etc.

Please email your ideas and photos to or click on one of these names to send an email with your story ideas:
Karen Bray, Rafael Maza, Lynetta Butler,
Michael BrownRichard Brown, Jr.Betty Grant, and Shenitha Smith.

In case you missed it ... 
Click here to see last month's edition of CAHS Connections
Our Mission
To facilitate person-centered recovery by empowering people
of all ages with behavioral health needs and developmental disability challenges to strengthen relationships, establish independence, and enhance their ability to improve their
physical health and emotional well being.
Our Vision
Our network provides local access to best practices that respond to the unique needs of individuals living in the District's communities.

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